Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Alan Salmoni


The objective of this dissertation was to develop and validate a model for coaching expertise development using semi-structured interviews. The aim of Study One was twofold: first, to examine how coaching expertise is defined and second, to investigate how this expertise develops over time. Interviews were completed with elite athletes and elite coaches and were done in the tradition of grounded theory. Results suggested that there is a need to go beyond identifying a coach as an expert based on the performance of his/her athletes. Some of the additional criteria suggested included: be recognized by peers (other coaches) as experts; be recognized by athletes as experts, and have successful athletes/teams at any level of competition. The intention of Study Two was to describe, in more detail, mechanisms for coaching expertise development identified in a previous study (Wiman, Salmoni & Hall, 2010). Seven varsity coaches were interviewed. It was found that open-mindedness seemed to be an essential learned characteristic in supporting the development of expertise. Coaches discussed using both internal and external feedback mechanisms and indicated a variety of ways in which they used this feedback to continually better themselves. Central to this process, coaches assessed the needs of athletes as a basis for their evaluation of their own strengths and weaknesses as a coach. A major source of information used to develop expertise is introspection. Coaches reported using introspection primarily for self-evaluation and to gain self-awareness. Mentoring other coaches and being mentored were also discussed. Finally, a model to place these ideas into a developmental process was proposed. The aim of the third and final study was to validate a model for the development of coaching expertise presented by Wiman, Salmoni and Hall in studies one and two. Five novice and five elite rowing coaches were interviewed. Results indicated that the model was supported both implicitly and explicitly by the interviewees. Feedback provided by the participants suggested that motivation needed to be added as an explicit component within the model. Some other suggestions on how to facilitate the self-adaptation process described by the model as it relates to coaching education were included.